Knowledge base Radios What is the difference between analog and digital walkie-talkies?

What is the difference between analog and digital walkie-talkies?



You want to use two-way radios to communicate between different people, but you don't know whether to opt for analog or digital two-way radios? In this article we will tell you what the differences are and what advantages and disadvantages both systems have.

Analog radios

Have been analog for decades walkie-talkies used for communication between people at a great distance. In addition, walkie-talkies are frequently used by private individuals for holiday and recreation purposes. These walkie-talkies are used in the PMR band (446 MHz), no license is required for this band. Professional analog walkie-talkies are widely used in security, industry and emergency services. However, these analog walkie-talkies can be overheard by other users. In addition, only one talkgroup can be used per frequency.

The advantage of analog radios is that they are often cheaper than digital radios and can be easily connected. An analog network is quickly operational and can be used immediately. With professional analog radios you can sometimes communicate up to tens of kilometers. As the distance increases, the quality will decrease.

The range of an analog transceiver can be expanded by means of repeaters (amplifiers). You can use a maximum of one repeater in an analog network.

Digital walkie-talkies

For several years, more and more advanced digital radios (DMR) have been on the market. These digital radios offer many advantages over analog radios. With a digital radio you can use two talk groups per frequency. As a result, you no longer have to apply for expensive permits from the Telecom Agency, but you can do with a single permit. A digital walkie-talkie is not easy to listen to, so it is no longer necessary to share or listen. You can securely exchange personal information.

With a digital walkie-talkie you can send text messages like with an alarm receiver. You can also connect machines or other fault contacts. GPS positioning and man-down are options for securing employees with digital walkie-talkies.


With both analog and digital walkie-talkies it is possible to use repeaters (amplifier). A repeater amplifies the range from the point where the repeater is placed. You can use a maximum of one repeater with analog walkie-talkies. With digital walkie-talkies from Motorola or Kenwood it is possible to use multiple repeaters.

You can connect different repeaters based on IP. This is also possible at a great distance, so that different branches can be connected to each other. Motorola MotoTRBO articles and Kenwood Nexedge articles support digital radio.

 Advantages and disadvantages

  • Analog radios are cheaper, but less and less available.
  • Analog radios can be monitored
  • Digital radios have better voice quality
  • Digital radios have more range

Main models

Without a permit Analog Kenwood TK-3501
Digital Kenwood TK-3401d
With permit Analog Phased out
Digital Motorola DP1400